Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox


An interesting point has been raised from the previous post ‘Failure’

 I have filched these comments from that post, I hope you don’t mind. Here is Rogers observation about instructing, from a students point of view:

”Above you have instructors point of view.
From a pupil’s point of view, we sometimes take a lot longer to actually bond with any given instructor.
Being quite short (and plump) when a big guy stands behind me and says “give me your hand” I do go quite tense initially, it actually takes at least three lessons before I feel comfortable with a tutor to then “allow him (her) in”.
Booking a lesson only takes money, and not a lot of it as casting/fishing lessons a quite reasonable when you compare with other sports/hobbies. But to feel comfortable with any instructor takes a greater leap of faith.
It is really a pupil thing, but no doubt some instructors out there will say the better the teacher the easier and quicker you will feel o.k with them, not so, I have over the years been taught by some of the very best in different pursuits and it does take a while for the pupil to “let go”.
However one to one is really the best way.”

 And here is Gillys responce:

”Excellent point Roger. I never ever touch my students to show them casting – it’s not necessary and a total invasion of their personal space.
And it is about them casting, they know that the instructor can cast, that’s why they booked the lesson,

I have to be honest and say I am quite ‘hands on’, literally, when I instruct. I don’t make an issue of it, I don’t often even ask permission (I did once, when I was trying to help a woman who was with what I thought was her husband, it turned out to be his daughter! and he wasn’t in the slightest bit worried. I never asked her how she felt about it!) I have never felt that the pupil was uncomfortable, if I did then I would back off.

 Now, I have a slight advantage over Gilly who is five foot nothing and gorgeous, I’m six feet two and not very gorgeous. For her to reach around the average man would create quite an intimate contact. I, on the other hand can reach round most people and only our rod hands are in contact. I find guiding a pupils hand invaluable, I can not only guide them through the stroke but I also get a feel of how tense their arm is and how tightly they are gripping the rod, I can also show them how not to keep breaking their wrist. It’s only ever for a few seconds and then I move away. I move in again if their stroke goes wrong and then back off again. Without touchy feely I would have to use words and descriptions, which I am the first to admit, are not my forte.

 I have yet to have a pupil that I haven’t got on with on a personal level, no doubt it will happen sooner or later, but the sooner we get a bit of banter and mild mickey taking going on the happier I am with the lesson, and I hope the pupil is as well.

 Fly casting isn’t life or death, it’s supposed to be fun, so I try to make my lessons fun as well.

 I don’t want this to sound like I take the piss out of my pupils, I don’t, but if you had someone like Roger, for instance, ( happen to know him) I would be very surprised is if we weren’t having a laugh or two during the lesson. That’s how I like it.


April 13, 2009 - Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized


  1. Hi Mike, I think I was a bit strong in my answer so I’ll try to clarify where I was coming from.
    Firstly as part of the qualification that I took, it was rammed into us by our teacher to try and never touch students/clients and always to ask permission first. I used to but have found that I can still get the same results by not touching although I would admit that not neccessary as quickly. You make a good point about my size (and you are gorgeous Mike) that to take the rod and cast I would get intimately close (I also wouldn’t be able to see over their shoulder)! As a women I spend a lot of time with 40 year olds in the middle of nowhere alone and I have had the odd overfriendly one so it’s always best for me to play it safe and to never give them the impression that I might be coming onto them. Also I was taught that with children it’s as much to protect them as to protect yourself. A sad world that we live in. Gilly

    Comment by Gilly Bate | April 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for your reply Gilly, I can certainly see where you might have problems that are very unlikely to happen with me. Do you teach women and children with the same caution I wonder. I have never taught a young child, I think if I did I would probobly be as cautious as you have to be. As you say, it’s a sad world sometimes.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | April 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. I raised the point about a pupil’s perspective to show that sometimes however good an instructor is the pupil has to come to terms with certain aspects of what he/she is being taught.
    I understand all the previous aspects that the instructors faces, having taught over 30 apprentices in the printing industry over the last 35 years.
    Initially, as beginner to intermediate I was able to understand how fly casting worked. But now as I get involved in advanced levels of distance work I can only get the real impression of angle, tracking and the “quickness of the stop” in the forward and back cast by having this hands on by the instructor.
    I guess when one reaches a certain level feel is a greater perception than sight. How fascinating certain aspects of fly casting is.

    Comment by Roger | April 13, 2009 | Reply

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